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These steamed Spanish mussels are so incredibly flavorful, and take almost no time at all to prepare! I love making and serving these as an appetizer (perfect for a tapas night) that everyone can share, along side some crusty bread to dunk into that amazing steaming liquid.
Spanish mussels are flavored with traditional ingredients from Spain. Think chorizo sausage, white wine, and smoked paprika. This makes for an amazing combination with the salty bivalves. You can cook mussels in a ton of different ways: roasting, boiling frying or even smoking them. In my opinion, the easiest way to cook them is by steaming them, which is what we're doing here. Lightly cook your ingredients, throw the mussels in, and three minutes later, you have the best dish ever.
Spanish mussels are so special because of their bold flavors: chorizo, tomato, smoked paprika and more. The best part is you get a high impact meal for low effort in the kitchen, making them perfect for entertaining.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mussels are a type of bivalve, similar to clams and oysters.
Only salt-water mussels are edible. Those that grow and live in fresh water are not.
Mussels are alive when you cook them, and you definitely want them to be. If a mussel shell is open before you cook it, toss it. The shells should open when cooked, and the mussel won't be alive at this point.
Mussels are quite mild, taste a bit briny like the ocean, but are also sweet. They take on the flavors of the other ingredients they're cooked in, and likewise, lend their gentle flavor to any sauces and stocks their added too.
Black mussels are found in the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans. They're typically much smaller than green mussels, and they also tend to be more tender and less chewy.
- Black mussels: get them as fresh as you possibly can. You can find mussels at most grocery stores these days.
- Chorizo: cured chorizo sausage if you can find it, but you can also make it with ground chorizo as well! Just make sure that it's that type - you want all that delicious spicy, smoky flavor.
- Onion: for flavor.
- Garlic: use lots of it!
- Tomato: this is going to give the broth lots of body and depth.
- Smoked paprika: this is going to be the dish to the next level with it's incredible smoky flavor. So good.
- White wine: for flavor and deglazing!
- Chicken stock: for depth of flavor.
- Lemon: for garnish
- Parsley: for garnish
How to Prep your Mussels
To make these Spanish mussels truly great, make sure you get the best, freshest mussels you can find. You can store mussels in the fridge for a few days, but I recommend making them day of.
When you get your mussels home, toss any with the shells open. This means the mussels are dead, and we do not want that. Like other shell-fish, mussels start breaking down incredibly quickly after they die, which makes them unsafe for eating. Oh, and hot tip: once you throw them out TAKE OUT THE GARABAGE. The smell they emit in your garbage will make you want to light your house on fire.
Finally, make sure the mussels are clean and "de-bearded", meaning any of the scraggly seaweed stuff has been scrubbed off the shells.
How to Make Spanish-Style Mussels
This part is pretty easy, but let's do it step-by-step.
Preheat your saucepan with deep sides (I really like my Dutch oven for these guys). Cook your chorizo first. Let it brown nicely.
Add your garlic and onion, cooking until soft, about five minutes or so.
Add your tomato, and smoked paprika, stirring to mix.
Deglaze you pan with white wine. Bring to a low simmer, and place the lid over the mussels. Let them steam for 3-5 minutes. If the shells are open, they're done!
Serve in a big bowl with a ladle to get at the mussels and the tipping sauce. Definitely make sure you have some crusty bread for dunking.
Reheating & Storage
Listen, there are lots of foods you can reheat. Spanish mussels are technically one of those foods. Do it on the stove top in a saucepan, and do it very gently. Once they're overcooked, they get super rubbery.
And honestly, even if you do this, they still aren't going to be as good as they are fresh. My advice? Try to only buy as many as you're going to eat day of.
For storage - you can keep them in the fridge for 1-2 days, but that's really the max. I also recommend buying them the same day you're cooking them.
Other Awesome Seafood Appetizers
Spanish Mussels with Chorizo and Smoked Paprika
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 C chorizo sausage chopped
- 4 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 onion diced
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tomato diced or grated
- 1 C white wine Pick something dry
- 1 C chicken stock
- 2-3 lb black mussels scrubbed and cleaned
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil your high-sided pot, on medium to medium-high heat and add the chorizo. Cook until it just starts to brown.
- Add the garlic and onion. Cook until it's starting to soften, about five minutes.
- Add the tomato and smoked paprika. Allow everything to mingle and get cozy while stirring occasionally for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, add your mussels and cover. Cook for 3-5 mintues, until the mussels have opened.
- Serve, garnished with lemons and parsley.